On Giving

— Akber Ayub

To understand what our heart values most, we could pay attention to how we really spend our money. If generosity and helping others is not part of our plan, then perhaps we are missing out an opportunity to fill our hearts with contentment. When we are blessed with success, when we achieve our goals and have positive experiences in our lives, do we feel a sense of gratitude – often characterized by a desire to “give back,”? If yes, and if we have responded from the center of that gratitude, then we know that it is always a source of lasting joy.

That urge, that calling to help another human, is common to us all …but manifests only in those moments when we rise briefly above our mundane lives and feel a connection to something higher. If you’ve felt such an expansion of your heart, then, in that instantce, you’ve touched your higher self, unmistakably a truly divine moment. However, our preoccupation with the practical realities of life, the business of day-to-day living and work, overrides that inner call. The result? We not only shut ourselves off from the flux of life but indeed, we also shut the natural flow of prosperity through us for, like a faucet that needs to be opened in order for water to flow, we need to open the flow of wealth and prosperity through us in order to invite more of it into our lives. My experiences have borne out of the fact that the more of what we give out, the more of it we invite into our lives, for when we give out we are also expressing our gratitude to the universe for all that it has bestowed upon us. When we feel the push to help the less privileged and heed to it, we are indeed opening our hearts, and letting our good fortune and our resources flow out…in the process not only clearing the blocks to prosperity in our own lives but also creating space for more positives to enter our lives. This works most powerfully when the impulse to give comes from a higher place in our heart so that we feel blessed even as we give. Indeed, unconditional giving, prompted by true compassion, is so powerful that it brings about physiological changes in the giver.

Experiments conducted on Tibetan monks who have meditated on the value of compassion have proved that their brains actually change.

However, quite often we expect to attract abundance by simply being generous and openhanded. And we are disappointed when our generosity is not met with the expected results. The renowned Sufi saint Kahlil Gibran says, “There are those who give little of the much which they have…and they give it for recognition, and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.” Like Gibran says the problem is with the expectation that prompted us to give. Though our intention might be good, we make our generosity unwholesome by focusing on what we will eventually receive in return. If we can give without expectation and stop trading for rewards, abundance can truly flow in to our lives. Giving can then become a joy unto itself, shorn of all conditions, and we will then be able to see the flow of reciprocal abundance.

Here are a few tips on giving. First and foremost, don’t wait to be asked. Contact charitable organizations of your choice or make a difference in someone’s life or a community. It takes only small amounts of compassion and attention to make a world of difference. Don’t limit yourself to financial support either; consider giving your time and skills. You can, for example, share your joys with those who need encouragement, your knowledge and skills with those who would gain from it, your faith with those who have none, or just connect with, support and inspire others. This kind of intangible giving has a remarkable property: this giving continues giving, even after the giver has forgotten about it, forever and ever. Indeed giving in any form to the needy returns you a satisfaction and joy more than what you expend in inconvenience, effort or money.

Look at it this way. Giving returns to society some of the benefits that society gives us. Giving also encourages more giving – we become an example to others. And finally, giving is an act that can indeed change the world and transform our hearts, for it is said, “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

About the Author
AKBER AYUB is a former entrepreneur, ex-marine engineer, book author, and a travel & feature writer for dailies and travel magazines.

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